Handy Advice for Back-to-School
BY JULIA LIU '23
Each year, upperclassmen come back from a much-needed summer break—only to be met with underclassmen clueless of high school’s de facto rules. But fear not, classes of ’25 and ’26! As a wise senior whose cut-off freshman year only accelerated intolerance for poor underclassmen etiquette, here are my top five tips for surviving high school with minimal embarrassment.
1. HUSTLE in the hallways.
There’s nothing more annoying than trying to get to class and finding that the already crowded intersections are filled with loitering people who block the entire hallway. Most people won’t call you out on it, but I guarantee that if you mimic a snail in the middle of the hallways, whoever you’re in front of is cursing at you in their head—and they will immediately tell the first person they see at their destination about that obnoxious slowpoke on their way there (you).
Although this is admittedly a huge pet peeve of mine, to my fellow upperclassmen: this is not an excuse to be a jerk. Everyone has been guilty of slow-walking at some point. Have some decorum, please.
2. A list of the least crowded bathrooms in the school.
The transition from middle school to high school can be a big jump; I flew through middle school with straight A’s and didn’t study for a single test, only to be abruptly faced with the looming, unmovable wall of a subject that is Geometry H. This list really would have helped when I was faced with my first ever horrendous grade on that cursed midpoints test.
Honestly, no one will really judge you for needing an emotional meltdown once in a while (we’ve all been there), but it’s still nice to have a little privacy for these kinds of things. They’re ordered by my preference: the bathroom in Upper South across from the library, the one in Upper East, the one in Upper West, and the one across from the cafeteria near the Lower Gym.
3. Set reminders for EVERYTHING.
As someone with the memory of a goldfish, I’ve forgotten to bring pretty much everything under the sun. Setting reminders is a good habit to build, because you know those cute little planners we love to buy and promise ourselves that we’ll write down everything in it with our neat little handwriting? You will never use those. Save your money. If you’re already addicted to your phone like me, it’s much more practical to quickly set a reminder on it. You could also send an email to yourself instead if you can’t access your phone during class.
4. How to procrastinate and still get good grades.
I’m a procrastinator. After many failed attempts to break the habit, I’ve accepted my fate. I have two laws of procrastination: first, know when you can and can’t procrastinate. For example, I can procrastinate studying for math if I fully understand the material; I’ll still get a decent grade even with delayed studying. However, I cannot procrastinate studying for biology because I’ve never fully understood anything in that class. Ever.
Second, pay attention in class if you want to slack off at home. I get it—classes can be excruciatingly boring. Nonetheless, concentrating in class reduces time digging through Google Classroom posts and frantically going on YouTube to figure out if someone can explain the concept that you missed because you were playing 2048 on a separate tab. If you have the concept down because you paid attention in class, you can procrastinate all you want and still be able to actually do the homework and study well. When the teacher takes the time to talk about something in class, it’s usually for a reason. I know, crazy.
5. DON’T DATE SENIORS.
I’m begging you, underclassmen. As someone very wise once said, “If your grade levels aren’t touching, neither should you.” That means if your devastatingly pretty hallway crush is over a year younger or older than you, nip it in the bud. Abort mission. You might think that you’re mature for your age, and maybe you actually are, but that doesn’t matter. These relationships are embarrassing for everyone involved, including nosy onlookers. My only advice: don’t do it.
That’s all from me, folks. If you follow these five tips, you’ll be sure to make it through with minimal mortification here at AB. It won’t solve all your problems, but some things you just have to experience yourself. Knowing how to squint and run through the humiliation is a good life skill to have! But even though I’m sure I haven’t solved any big existential crises for any of you, I do hope that my handy list makes your high school life just the tiniest bit easier all around.